Leckvold, Martin

1872-1936 | Homesteader

Martin Leckvold (Ingvald Martin Persen Leckvold) was born in Selbu, Norway on September 24, 1876, the son of Peter and May Leckvold. He came to America with his parents at the age of four. His family settled in Wheaton, Minnesota, and Martin lived there until he got the urge to travel on his own.[1]

Leckvold traveled from Minnesota across the country to Washington, where he was employed in the Bremerton Navy Yard, in Bremerton, Washington. He served as a private in Company E, Fifteenth Regiment, of the U.S. Army during the Spanish-American War (1898) and the Philippine Insurrection (1899-1902).

Leckvold went to Alaska in 1909. The following year, he returned to Minnesota, where he married Mattie Gilbertson at Eagle Bend, Minnesota, in 1910. She was born in born in Clarissa, Minnesota on March 18, 1892, the daughter of Norwegian immigrant parents, Harry Gilbertson and Martha Tvedt Gilbertson. The couple returned to Bremerton and lived for two years, where he worked in the lumber industry.

In 1913, Leckvold returned to Alaska alone and homesteaded in the Four Corners area on the old Palmer-Wasilla Road in the Matanuska Valley. His wife, Mattie, joined him on the homestead in 1914. By 1915, there were enough farms in the area to create problems of marketing surplus produce. He joined a loosely-organized group called the Matanuska Farmers Association, and was appointed to a committee to urge that the Alaska Road Commission build roads in the area.

Prior to 1914, homesteaders in the Matanuska Valley were primarily miners and freighters. During the period from 1914 to 1918, the majority of homesteaders were more interested in developing producing farms.  Few of these settlers had sufficient  capital to invest in livestock and machinery to develop profitable farms in a relatively short period of time.  A few homesteaders lacked the ambition to clear the land. In addition to Scandinavians, the ethnic and racial groups represented were Canadians, English, Germans, Italians, and Japanese.[2]

Mattie Leckvold was appointed as the second postmaster in the Matanuska area on February 2, 1916. She was postmaster until September 2, 1917, when Harold Peckenpaugh was appointed to this position.[3] Mattie and Martin Leckvold ran horse and dog teams that carried the mail from Knik to the Matanuska Valley.

Martin Leckvold was employed as a blacksmith with the Alaskan Engineering Commission (AEC), the agency in charge of construction of the Alaska Railroad. In his spare time, he served as quartermaster of the Anchorage chapter of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.[4]

The Leckvold family moved to Anchorage in 1920. The Leckvold home was located at 627 3rd Avenue. It was later remodeled and opened in 1979 as an elegant downtown restaurant, the Marx Bros. Café.

Mattie and Martin Leckvold had four children. Their daughter, Marcella, was born in 1920, but died in 1937. Their son, Harry, was born in 1924. Their second son, Weldon, was born in 1928. Their third son, Lester, born in 1911, died in infancy in Bellingham, Washington.

Martin Leckvold continued to work for the Alaska Railroad until his sudden death at the U.S. Marine Hospital in Seattle, due to lung trouble, on December 9, 1936. He is buried in the Bayview Cemetery in Bellingham, Washington, beside his eldest son, Lester.[5]

Martin Leckvold’s death left his widow, Mattie, as sole support of the family. She was employed in various capacities with the Alaska Railroad and Pacific Northern Airways. She retired in 1968 and moved to the Matanuska Valley. Mattie Gilbertson Leckvold died at the Alaska Veterans and Pioneers’ Home in Palmer on December 30, 1978.



[1] Martin Leckvold, Washington Select Death Certificates, 1907-1960 [database on-line], http://ancestry.com (accessed August 8, 2016).  In most primary and secondary sources, their surname has been anglicized to "Leckwold."

[2] Hugh A. Johnson and Keith L. Stanton, Matanuska Valley Memoir:  The Story of How One Community Developed, Bulletin No. 18 (Palmer: Alaska Agricultural Experiment Station, University of Alaska, 1955): 14-17.

[3] Entry for Mattie Leckvold, National Archives Microfilm Publication M841, Record of Appointment of Postmasters, 1832-September 30, 1971, Roll 4, Appointment of U.S. Postmasters, 1832-1971 [database on-line], http://ancestry.com (accessed August 9, 2016).

[4] “Obituary, Mattie Leckwold [Leckvold],” Anchorage Daily Times, January 2, 1979, 3; “Martin Leckwold [Leckvold] Dies in Seattle Marine Hospital,” Anchorage Daily Times, December 10, 1936, 1 and 5; and John P. Bagoy, Legends & Legacies, Anchorage, 1910-1935 (Anchorage: Publications Consultants, 2001), 177-178.

[5] Martin Leckvold, U.S., Find a Grave Index, 1600s-Current, http://ancestry.com (accessed August 8, 2016).


This biographical sketch of Martin Leckvold is based on an essay which originally appeared in John Bagoy’s Legends & Legacies, Anchorage, 1910-1935 (Anchorage, AK: Publications Consultants, 2001), 177-178.  See also the Martin Leckwold [Leckvold] file, Bagoy Family Pioneer Files (2004.11), Box 5, Atwood Resource Center, Anchorage, AK.  Edited by Mina Jacobs, 2012.  Note:  edited, revised, and expanded by Bruce Parham, August 9, 2016.

Preferred citation: Bruce Parham, “Leckvold, Martin,” Cook Inlet Historical Society, Legends & Legacies, Anchorage, 1910-1940, http://www.alaskahistory.org.


Major support for Legends & Legacies, Anchorage, 1910-1940, provided by: Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center, Atwood Foundation, Cook Inlet Historical Society, and the Rasmuson Foundation. This educational resource is provided by the Cook Inlet Historical Society, a 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt association. Contact us at the Cook Inlet Historical Society, by mail at Cook Inlet Historical Society, Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center, 625 C Street, Anchorage, AK 99501 or through the Cook Inlet Historical Society website, www.cookinlethistory.org.